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Iraq sends reinforcements to bolster key refinery amid reports of Islamic State advance there

  • Security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • A towing truck lifts a destroyed vehicle at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    A towing truck lifts a destroyed vehicle at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Civilians gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

    Civilians gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion near Khudairi mosque in Karrada neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. A car bomb exploded in the central Karrada commercial area killing several people, according to police and medical officials. The area where the car exploded included restaurants, shops and a Sunni mosque. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

Iraq's military spokesman says reinforcements are being rushed to the key Beiji refinery north of Baghdad amid heavy fighting there with Islamic State militants.

Brig. Gen. Saad Maan appeared on state TV on Tuesday, denying earlier reports in some Iraqi media that IS had taken over large sections of the refinery.

Ammar Hikmat, the deputy governor for Salahuddin province where the refinery is located, confirmed to The Associated Press that there is fierce fighting around the refinery and that IS militants do control part of the complex.

The government has several times said the refinery, the largest in the country, was under its control, but militants repeatedly counterattacked there in the past months.

Beiji is north of the provincial capital Tikrit, which was retaken by Iraqi forces earlier this month.